The Steadfast Tin Soldier
Once upon a time, a set of twenty-five tin soldiers was gifted to a young boy on his birthday. All soldiers were identical, standing upright on one foot, except for one who had been cast last when there was not enough tin left. This soldier stood just as proudly on his lone leg.
The one-legged tin soldier fell in love with a beautiful paper ballerina, who, like him, was standing on one foot. Believing she too had only one leg, the soldier thought she would understand his plight.
One night, a jack-in-the-box toy, jealous of the soldier’s affection for the ballerina, warned the soldier to take his eyes off the ballerina. The soldier ignored him, further fueling the jack-in-the-box’s envy.
The next day, the soldier was placed on a windowsill. The jack-in-the-box made the window blow open, and the soldier fell out. Though the fall was terrifying, the soldier stayed brave and steady.
After spending a night in the rain, two boys found the soldier and decided to send him on a journey in a paper boat. The boat sailed into a sewer, where a rat demanded a toll, but the soldier stayed firm. The boat continued into a canal and was then swallowed by a fish.
The fish, caught and sold, was bought and cooked by the boy’s mother. Upon cutting the fish, they found the brave tin soldier and placed him back on the windowsill, facing the ballerina.
Unfortunately, a gust of wind blew the ballerina into the fireplace, and a heartbroken soldier followed her. The ballerina was consumed immediately, leaving behind only her spangle, while the soldier melted into a tin heart.
The tale of the Steadfast Tin Soldier teaches us about the virtues of resilience, loyalty, and the strength of true love.